WEEK ELEVEN – Friday (7 p.m. kickoffs) and Saturday (10 a.m.)
No. 31 Tolleson (2-5) at No. 13 Salpointe (4-3)
The Lancers have won three of their last four games with the only loss in that span a 27-24 thriller at No. 11 Mesa Red Mountain on Oct. 14. In fact, two of the Lancers’ losses are only by a field goal, against Scottsdale Chaparral (23-20 in OT) in the opener Sept. 2 and the Red Mountain game — both on the road.
No. 7 Marana (6-1, 2-0) at No. 41 Flowing Wells (2-5, 1-1)
No. 29 Sunnyside (4-3, 1-1) vs. No. 42 Cholla (2-5, 1-1) at Desert View, (Saturday, 10 a.m.)
No. 39 Nogales (1-6, 1-1) at No. 47 Rincon/UHS (1-6, 0-2)
Marana’s hope to host a first-round game in the 5A state playoffs hinges on teams in the rankings losing below them because of the Tigers’ strength of schedule down the stretch against their region opponents. … Sunnyside first-year coach Thomas Romack has done a commendable job with the Blue Devils not having a game at their field this season while a synthetic turf is being installed.
No. 21 Cienega (3-4, 2-0) at No. 25 Desert View (4-2, 2-0)
No. 23 Buena (5-2, 1-1) at No. 37 Tucson (2-5, 0-2)
No. 38 Ironwood Ridge (1-6, 0-2) at No. 30 Mountain View (2-5, 1-1)
One of the top games locally is Cienega visiting Desert View, which will christen its new synthetic turf. This is practically an elimination game toward the drive to reach the 5A playoffs (which includes 16 teams). The Bobcats are looking for their third straight win after losing four straight and the Jaguars are in search of five consecutive wins in what is one of the best coaching jobs regionally be Robert Bonillas.
No. 12 Walden Grove (5-2, 2-0) at No. 44 Amphitheater (1-6, 0-2)
No. 38 Rio Rico (3-4, 1-1) at No. 23 Catalina Foothills (4-3, 2-0)
No. 49 Sahuarita (0-7, 0-2) at No. 24 Sahuaro (3-4, 1-1)
A showdown at the end of the regular season Nov. 10 looms with Catalina Foothills visiting Walden Grove potentially for the 4A Gila title but the Falcons and Red Wolves must take care of business before that. … One of the most interesting storylines of Week 11 is Rio Rico coach Jeff Scurran visiting a former school he coached — Catalina Foothills. On top of that, one of his players when he coached Santa Rita — Daniel Sainz — is the head coach at Catalina Foothills.
No. 2 Canyon del Oro (6-1, 2-0) at No. 21 Vista Grande (6-2, 2-0)
No. 28 Mica Mountain (3-4, 2-0) at No. 25 Pueblo (4-3, 0-2)
No. 42 Empire (3-4, 0-2) at No. 35 Douglas (3-4, 0-2)
Another marquee game is CDO trying to keep their top 4 power rating with three weeks left, visiting upstart Vista Grande. If the Dorados remain in the top 4 that would assure them the opportunity to host the first round, quarterfinals and semifinals of the state playoffs. … The Spartans are having a highly successful season after going 5-4 last season. It’s to the Dorados’ benefit with their power points that Vista Grande is competitive. … The Dorados are fueled by the motivation of playing for six players who have been dismissed from the team for violating a no-tolerance Amphi School District policy of either consuming beer (or being around those who are drinking beer) at a recent off-campus party. … The battle of the North Carolina blue and dark blue will take place when Mica Mountain faces Pueblo, teams with identical team colors.
No. 1 Thatcher (9-0, 4-0) at No. 36 Palo Verde (2-7, 0-4)
No. 15 Safford (4-5, 2-2) at No. 3 Pusch Ridge (8-1, 3-1)
No. 14 Benson (5-4, 1-3) at No. 8 Sabino (6-3, 2-2)
Safford is playing for a potential playoff bid and Pusch Ridge is vying to keep a high enough rating to host the first round and quarterfinals in the 3A state playoffs that start next week. … Benson is also challenging for a playoff berth in the 16-team field while Sabino looks to keep a top 8 rating and stay home next week for its first-round game.
2A SAN PEDRO
No. 7 Willcox (7-2, 4-0) at No. 15 Tanque Verde (5-4, 4-0)
No. 25 Bisbee (3-6, 1-3) at No. 43 Catalina (1-8, 1-3)
No. 20 Chandler Prep (5-4) at No. 27 Tombstone (3-6)
2A football teams are also in their last week of the regular season and the biggest of the season is occurring at Tanque Verde with the Hawks going after their first state-playoff appearance and Willcox looking to finish a dominating season with the San Pedro region championship. Tanque Verde is on a five-game winning streak after starting 0-4 and Willcox has won four straight. A classic strength vs. strength matchup — Tanque Verde’s defense has not allowed a point in four straight games while Willcox features highly-productive running backs Ayden Fuentes and Cristian Pando, who have combined for 2,004 rushing yards.
1A STATE PLAYOFFS QUARTERFINALS
No. 7 Bagdad (7-3) at No. 2 St. David (8-1)
No. 9 San Manuel (7-2) at No. 1 Hayden (9-0)
San Manuel travels to Winkelman to play juggernaut Hayden, which has an average winning margin of 46.7 points. The Miners have one of the top defenders in the state — cornerback Ralphie Valencia, who has eight interceptions this season and 18 over the last two years. He is also a very capable dual-threat QB. … St. David begins its trek to another potential appearance in the 1A state title game after losing to Mogollon last season. The Tigers host Bagdad in the first round. They defeated the Sultans 70-20 in Week 3 at St. David.
FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER!
ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.